At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.
1. Brownells — Remington 700 SA Receiver with Trigger, $399.99
Here’s a genuine Remington short action receiver with X-Mark Pro trigger for $399.99 (or just $364.50 with coupon M3J). You can use this blued Short Action (SA) for your next hunting or varmint rifle. These Rem actions will also work with many third-party modular chassis systems. DOES NOT include receiver plug screws, recoil lug, triggerguard, triggerguard screws, and magazine components. NOTE: The sale price is $399.99, but you can save $35.00 with code M3J, good for Today Only, 2/20/2017.
2. Amazon.com — 34 dB Noise Rating Ear Muffs, $17.97
These 34 dB NRR earmuffs provide excellent sound protection without being too heavy and bulky. The lower section of the muff is trimmed for a narrower profile — that helps with rifle and shotgun stocks. The headband is adjustable and has comfortable padding. These Pro For Sho Muffs have earned a 4 1/2 star consumer rating, with over 1,600 Amazon customer reviews. NOTE: These fit pretty tight. If you have a very large hat size you might want a different brand.
3. Midsouth — Nosler Blem Bullets at Big Discounts
Nosler Factory Seconds are available at deep discounts from Midsouth Shooters Supply. These have correct weights/dimensions but may have minor cosmetic blemishes — such as tip discolorations or jacket water spots. The Accubond and Ballistic Tip bullets work great for hunting — your prey won’t care about water spots. And the RDF match bullets in .224 (70 grain) and .308 (175 grain) calibers can definitely do the job. But you need to act soon — quantities are limited. Once these factory seconds are gone, they’re GONE! Order now and save up to 53%.
4. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99
Looking for a great holiday gift for a family member getting started in metallic cartridge reloading? This RCBS Kit has everything a new reloader needs: single-stage press, powder measure, scale, powder trickler, priming tool, cartridge tray, “rocket” chamfer tool, case lube and more. This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, on sale for just $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supplies. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you may want to add an additional, large heavy press, but this will get the job done. For the combined package, with all the tools one needs to hand-load quality ammo — this is a stunningly good deal at $199.99.
5. CDNN Sports — Ruger American Ranch Rifle (Tan), $349.99
Here’s a nice little varmint rifle from Ruger with good features and performance at a killer price: $349.99. You could pay that much just for a barrel. This .223 Rem rifle features a 16.5″ hammer-forged barrel barrel threaded 1/2″-28 at the muzzle for brake or suppressor. The action, which features a 70° three-lug bolt, and Picatinny-style scope rail, sits in an aluminum bedding block. The crisp trigger adjusts down to 3 pounds. With a weight (before optics) of 6.1 pounds, this is a handy carry-around varminter. We like this rifle. For $349.99 it’s a steal.
6. Midsouth — 17 HMR V-Max Ammo, $9.95 for 50 rounds
Need 17 HMR ammo for your planned 2017 varmint safaris? Then grab this Hornady V-Max ammo while you can at $9.95 for a 50-round box. This is a great price. Other vendors are selling the same Hornady ammo for as much as $15.00 per box. We’ve used this ammo and it was very accurate out of both semi-auto (Savage A17) and bolt-action (CZ 455) 17 HMR rifles.
7. Able Ammo — 247 Rounds .223 Rem, HP Bullets
Here you go — instant varmint safari. This Hornady-made .223 Rem ammo features quality hollowpoint bullets, rather than the not-so-accurate FMJ bullets with most bulk .223 ammo. This stuff is much more accurate (with lower ES/SD) than other low-priced ammo. Users report sub-MOA accuracy with this stuff. If you’re planning a varmint safari this spring but don’t have the time (or gear) to reload, pick up a couple boxes of this stuff and you’re good to go. There are 247 rounds in each polymer ammo “can”. This ammo usually comes loaded with Hornady’s XTP (eXtreme Terminal Performance) bullets which work great on varmints.
8. NRA & MidwayUSA — NRA Life Membership, $600.00
Here’s the best deal going right now on an NRA Life Membership. This normally costs $1500.00, but if you CLICK HERE, you can get a life membership for just $500.00, thanks to an NRA/MidwayUSA promotion. This deal is good through July 31, 2016. You can also save on 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year NRA memberships.
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SFC Emil Praslick III is now retired from the U.S. Army, but he left a great legacy as one of the USAMU’s greatest coaches and team leaders. A highly-respected wind expert, Praslick also was known for his ability to help his shooters master the “mental game”, which is so important at the highest levels of competition. Here is an article from the CMP Archives in which Praslick explains how to focus your mind to achieve greater success.
Thinking Your Way to Success by SFC Emil Praslick III (Ret.)
Why does it seem that the same small group of shooters wins the majority of the matches? Within the Army Marksmanship Unit’s Service Rifle Team, the same effect applies. On a team filled with uncommonly talented shooters, the same two or three are consistently at the top of the final results bulletin. What is the difference among shooters who are technically equal? Confidence. A confident shooter is free to execute his shots without the fear of failure, i.e. shooting a poor shot.
Negative thoughts (can’t, won’t be able to, etc.) will destroy a skilled performance. The mind’s focus will not be on executing the task, but on projecting fear and self-doubt. Fear is the enemy, confidence is the cure.
How does a shooter on the eve of an important match (the President’s or NTI, for example) attain the confidence needed to perform up to his potential? A pre-competition mental plan can assist in acquiring that positive mental state. The plan can be broken down into a few phases.
Build a feeling of preparedness. Developing and executing a plan to organize your equipment and pre-match routine will aid you in feeling prepared on match day.
Avoid negative and stressful thoughts. Focusing on “winning” the match or shooting for a specific score (like making the “cut” or making the President’s 100) can cause undue stress. Good shooters focus on aspects that are within their control: their sight picture, their sight alignment, their position. Each shot should be treated as an individual event.
Train stage-specific tasks during your practice sessions. Instead of shooting matches or practice matches only, include some drills that focus on your problem areas. Training in this manner will assist your level of confidence.
As part of your pre-match routine, imagine yourself shooting perfect shots. Visualize getting into the perfect position, acquiring a perfect sight picture, and perfect trigger control.
Let a feeling of calm and well-being wash over you. Spend a few minutes alone thinking positive thoughts. Many shooters use their favorite music to help build the mood.
Once you develop your pre-competition mental plan, stick with it. Through your training you will develop the physical skills to shoot higher scores. The confidence you will need to apply them in match conditions will grow as you develop into a complete shooter; both physically and mentally.
The USAMU’s article archives are a great resource for competitive shooters. Click HERE for more excellent instructional articles by Emil Praslick and other USAMU Coaches and shooters. You’ll find articles on Wind-Reading, Fitness, Equipment, Shooting Positions, Shooting Techniques, Match Strategies and much more.
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The 146th National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meetings and Exhibits will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia from April 27-30, 2017. This four-day event will be attended by over 80,000 patriots, feature 800+ exhibitors, and include a jam-packed schedule of seminars, workshops, special events and celebrity meet and greets. In and around the convention hall there will be 15 acres of firearms, shooting and hunting gear, and other exhibits. There will also be an on-site airgun range. For more information, including event tickets, visit www.nraam.org.
If you haven’t attended the NRA Convention before, this 2016 video offers a preview:
There will be nearly 700 Exhibitors displays products at the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits. You can see products from big name companies such as Berger Bullets, Leupold, Nightforce, Nosler, Redding, Remington, Ruger, Savage, Smith & Wesson, and Winchester. You can also meet with top hunting guides and outfitters.
The National NRA Foundation Banquet will be held April 27th in the Thomas Murphy Ballroom, Georgia World Congress Center Building ‘B’. The NRA-ILA Leadership Forum is slated for April 28th in Hall A3, Georgia World Congress Center. With the recent changes in the American national leadership, the ILA Forum should be popular this year.
Hank Williams Concert
Lifetime NRA member and multi-Platinum hit-maker and outdoor enthusiast Hank Williams Jr. will take the stage at the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits Saturday, April 29th! This is always a sell out event, so don’t wait to buy your tickets.
Location of NRA Annual Meetings in Atlanta:
Firearms Policy for the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings
During the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, lawfully carried firearms will be permitted in the Georgia World Congress Center and the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center in accordance with Georgia law. However, firearms are not allowed in the remainder of the CNN Center, including the food court and shops. When carrying your firearm, remember to follow all federal, state and local laws.
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Looking to shoot an AR-platform rifle out past 500 yards? Then you should read two articles by AR guru Glen Zediker. Author of The New Competitive AR-15 and The Competitive AR15 Builders Guide, Zediker is an expert when it comes to AR-platform rifles. Glen believes ARs have excellent long-range capability, provided they are built to high standards, with good barrels. Glen says: “a properly configured AR-15 is easily capable of good performance at 500+ yards. Good performance means it can hit a 1-foot-square target all the time. Competitive shooters can cut that standard in nearly half (the X-Ring on an MR1 600-yard NRA High Power Rifle target is 6 inches, and high X-counts are commonplace among more skilled shooters).”
Published in the Cheaper than Dirt Shooter’s Log, Zediker’s pair of articles cover the history and upgrading of the AR-15. Part One reviews the AR’s development as an accurate firearm, tracing its evolution from a Vietnam-era combat weapon to what is now a favored target rifle of High Power competitors. READ PART ONE.
Part Two discusses the specifics that make an AR accurate at 500 yards and beyond. Zediker talks about barrel configuration (profile and twist rate), bullet selection, floating handguards, and proper mounting of optics or iron sights. READ PART TWO.
Barrel Twist Rate
To stabilize anything longer than a 68- or 69-grain bullet, the barrel twist rate must be — at minimum– 1-in-8. Twist rates reflect how far the bullet travels along the lands or rifling to make one complete revolution. So, 1-in-8 (or 1-8, 1:8) means “one turn in eight inches.” I think it’s better to go a little faster in twist. There is nothing wrong with a 1:7 twist. The 90-grain bullets require a 1:6.5, and that is getting on the quick side. If you want to shoot Sierra 77s or equivalent, and certainly anything longer, 1:8 is necessary. By the way, it is bullet length, not weight, which constitutes the necessary twist rate to launch a stable bullet.
Correct optical sight positioning can be a challenge. With a flattop upper, I need a good inch additional forward extension at the muzzle side of the upper for the sight mount bases to avoid holding my head “back” to get the optimal view through the scope. A longer rail piece is necessary for my builds as a result.
Buttstock Length and Adjustment
An adjustable buttstock is valuable, and even more valuable if it’s well-designed. Mostly, a standard stock is too short, and the cheek area sits too low. Adding length helps a lot by itself. There are assemblies that replace the standard buttplate to allow for length and, usually, height and rotation adjustments for the buttpad. An elevation-adjustable cheekpiece is a big help to attain a solid position.
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Here’s a triple-threat hardware package for long-range shooting. This cool set-up combines a folded-path spotting scope with a Laser Rangefinder (LRF) and a Kestrel Wind Meter. The LRF is mounted directly to the Hensoldt-Zeiss spotting scope ($4330.00 retail) so the two units stay aligned at all times. That makes it easy to spot and range your target quickly. LRF and weather data is piped into a PDA which automatically generates a firing solution (providing windage and elevation adjustments). That’s slick. Feeding the range and weather data directly into the Ballistics solver eliminates human input error and allows rapid updates to the ballistics solution.
Ashbury Precison Ordnance sent us these photos, noting: “The ingenuity of APO customers never ceases to impress us! This rig has a co-located LRF adjustable for azimuth and elevation, a Kestrel weather station (Bluetooth?) and Trimble NOMAD RPDA. Firing solutions are updated as data is transmitted to the PDA from the LRF and weather station. That Hensoldt Spotter 60 is a nice piece of glass for shooting at extremely long distances.” The spotting scope is mounted on a Manfrotto 410 3-axis geared head.
Click Image to View Full-Screen Version
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We’ve all encountered those boastful guys at the range — you know, the ones who say their factory rifle will shoot “dime-sized groups all day long.” Well maybe they were actually telling the truth — it all depends on the size of the ten-cent piece. With the huge dime shown above, we think we could shoot “dime-sized groups all day long” — even with a pistol. After seeing this, one reader commented: “That’s great. So this means my groups are only around Quarter-sized!”
Credit Forum member DKhunt14 who started a thread with this humorous image in our Shooters’ Forum. Other Forum members gave examples of similar accuracy claims they’ve heard:
I ran into a local tactical guru a few years ago that topped any story I’ve ever heard yet. He claimed he could shoot a quarter-inch group every time at 300 yards — like no problem whatsoever. — IMMike
I had a guy tell me he dropped a doe at 420 yards with a M1 carbine, open sights. Never took a step. I’ll bet he also shot those dime-sized groups!– DJ Porter
Seems like we could substitute 1000-yard prairie dog (other small varmint) hits for dime-sized groups. They both happen “all day long”. — Dsandfort
Many folks come into my shop… and feel compelled to regale me with their life history with firearms. Head-shooting squirrels at 100 yards with a .22 short and iron sights, deer dropped at 500 yards with a .35 Rem, ground hogs taken with one shot across vast distances, etc. — and it would appear that every former SEAL, Marine or SF sniper lives in the general area. My Dad used to tell me that sometimes you just have to smile and nod a lot. Not always, but a lot.
I’m not a huge fan of Bass Pro Shop, but I DO appreciate Bass Pro’s motto: “Welcome hunters, fishermen and other liars.” Human nature can be so entertaining. — JLT
GET Your Own Giant DIME
By the way, if you want your own jumbo dime, Amazon.com offers 3″-diameter Roosevelt dimes for about five bucks. These would be good for range accuracy challenges. You could tell a buddy you can “put five shots on a dime at 200 yards”. Then whip out this slightly oversize 3-incher and see his face.
These could also serve as “gag prizes” at club shooting matches — giveaways for folks who want to say they shot a group at 200 or 300 yards that could be “covered with a dime” … a 3″ dime that is!
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In our Shooters’ Forum, there was an discussion about a range that was threatened with closure because rifle over-shoots were hitting a farm building over two miles from the firing line. One reader was skeptical of this, asking “how’s that possible — were these guys aiming at the stars?” Actually, you may be surprised. It doesn’t take much up-angle on a rifle to have a bullet land miles down-range. That’s why it’s so important that hunters and target shooters always orient their barrels in a safe direction (and angle). Shooters may not realize how much a small tilt of the barrel (above horizontal) can alter a bullet’s trajectory.
How many degrees of muzzle elevation do you think it would take to hit a barn at 3000 yards? Ten Degrees? Twenty Degrees? Actually the answer is much less — for a typical hunting cartridge, five to seven degrees of up-angle on the rifle is enough to create a trajectory that will have your bullet impacting at 3000 yards — that’s 1.7 miles away!
Five degrees isn’t much at all. Look at the diagram above. The angle actually displayed for the up-tilted rifle is a true 5.07 degrees (above horizontal). Using JBM Ballistics, we calculated 5.07° as the angle that would produce a 3000-yard impact with a 185gr .30-caliber bullet launched at 2850 fps MV. That would be a moderate “book load” for a .300 Win Mag deer rifle.
Here’s how we derived the angle value. Using Litz-derived BCs for a 185gr Berger Hunting VLD launched at 2850 fps, the drop at 3000 yards is 304.1 MOA (Minutes of Angle), assuming a 100-yard zero. This was calculated using a G7 BC with the JBM Ballistics Program. There are 60 MOA for each 1 degree of Angle. Thus, 304.1 MOA equals 5.068 degrees. So, that means that if you tilt up your muzzle just slightly over five degrees, your 185gr bullet (2850 fps MV) will impact 3000 yards down-range.
Figuring Trajectories with Different Bullets and MVs
If the bullet travels slower, or if you shoot a bullet with a lower BC, the angle elevation required for a 3000-yard impact goes up, but the principle is the same. Let’s say you have a 168gr HPBT MatchKing launched at 2750 fps MV from a .308 Winchester. (That’s a typical tactical load.) With a 100-yard zero, the total drop is 440.1 MOA, or 7.335 degrees. That’s more up-tilt than our example above, but seven degrees is still not that much, when you consider how a rifle might be handled during a negligent discharge. Think about a hunter getting into position for a prone shot. If careless, he could easily touch off the trigger with a muzzle up-angle of 10 degrees or more. Even when shooting from the bench, there is the possibility of discharging a rifle before the gun is leveled, sending the shot over the berm and, potentially, thousands of yards down-range.
Hopefully this article has shown folks that a very small amount of barrel elevation can make a huge difference in your bullet’s trajectory, and where it eventually lands. Nobody wants to put holes in a distant neighbor’s house, or worse yet, have the shot cause injury. Let’s go back to our original example of a 185gr bullet with a MV of 2850 fps. According to JBM, this projectile will still be traveling 687 fps at 3000 yards, with 193.7 ft/lbs of retained energy at that distance. That’s more than enough energy to be deadly.
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Nosler Factory Seconds are now available at Midsouth Shooters Supply. These bullets are completely functional (with correct weights and dimensions), with only minor cosmetic blemishes. You’ll find slight tip discolorations, water spots, and little else. The Accubond and Ballistic Tip bullets will work great for hunting — your prey won’t care about the water spots. And the RDF match bullets can definitely do the job for Service Rifle matches (70gr .224) or F-TR events (175gr .308). Getting match-grade, 30-Cal 175-grainers for $21.49 is a total steal. But you need to act soon — quantities are limited and these factory seconds blems always go fast. Once they are gone, they’re GONE!
Nosler Rifle Bullets on Sale Include:
.224 70gr BTHP RDF Match — now $13.49/100 (regularly $28.84)
.308 175gr BTHP RDF Match, $21.49/100 (regularly $37.21)
TEN Shots in 0.303″ (0.289 MOA) at 100 Yards
How does Dan’s XP-100 pistol shoot? Look at that target showing TEN shots at 100 yards, with eight (8) shots in the main cluster at the top. The ten-shot group measures .303″ (0.289 MOA), as calculated with OnTarget Software. Not bad for a handgun! What do you think, can your best-shooting rifle match the 10-shot accuracy of this XP-100 pistol?
Report by Boyd Allen
This pistol belongs to Dan Lutke, a Bay Area benchrest shooter who publishes the results for the Visalia matches to the competitors and the NBRSA. He has been an enthusiastic competitor for an number of years, at various ranges, notably Visalia and Sacramento. The action is a Remington XP-100, to which a Kelbly 2 oz. trigger has been fitted. On top is an old Japanese-made Tasco 36X scope (these were actually pretty darn good). The Hart barrel (a cast-off from Dan’s Unlimited rail gun) was shortened and re-chambered for the 6x45mm, a wildcat made by necking-up the .223 Remington parent case. The custom stock/chassis was CNC-machined by Joe Updike from 6061 Billet Aluminum to fit the XP-100 action and mount a target-style AR grip with bottom hand rest. The gun was bedded and assembled by Mel Iwatsubu. In his XP-100 pistol, Dan shoots 65gr custom boat-tails with Benchmark powder.
This diagram shows the most common 6x45mm wildcat, which is a necked-up version of the .223 Remington parent cartridge. NOTE: The dimensions for Dan Lutke’s benchrest version of this cartridge may be slightly different.
ACAD drawing by Peter Gnanapragasam CC by SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Title Added.
Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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Does your Black Rifle have a sloppy upper/lower fit? That can be annoying; what’s more, loose fit can limit accuracy potential. Here’s a clever solution for poor-fitting AR-15 and AR-10 upper and lower receivers. The new JP MicroFit takedown pins can improve even the sloppiest ARs, providing a rock-solid upper/lower receiver fit.
MicroFit pins come in three sizes and two types: standard (“mean”), oversized, and undersized, with types for both front and rear of the receivers. The mean pins match standard takedown pin sizes while the over- and under-sized vary by slightly more than .001″ (+/-) from the standard diameter. NOTE: Although most poor-fitting receivers are loose, some are too tight. Very tight receivers, such as post-Cerakote, can be remedied with the undersized pins.
Shown is JP Enterprises’ PSC-12™ upper assembly with LRP-07™ lower assembly.
“An AR with a loose upper/lower receiver… will not reach its accuracy potential. That was the goal with our original JP Tension Pin, but MicroFit™ pins provide the same result without tool-assisted takedown. The MicroFit pins require no modification to the receiver. They simply replace your current pins”, stated JP Enterprises founder John Paul.
JP’s MicroFit pins feature a polished black finish with a hard, durable QPQ coating. This provides smooth insertion/removal plus excellent corrosion resistance. All pins feature a two-faceted punch or bullet capturing recess. This allows the user to apply force to the pins safely without risking scratching the receiver. JP’s MicroFit pins are sold as both as individual pins and as replacement sets.
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Assembly Diagram: Here are all the components of the target frame. The overall maximum assembled dimensions are roughly 26″ wide, 41″ deep, and 66″ tall (the cardboard is 2 x 3 feet).
One of the easiest ways to build a portable target stand is to use PVC pipe and connectors. Utah .308 Shooter “Cheese” has created a simple yet sturdy target frame, and he’s shared his design so you can build a similar frame easily and at low cost. The components are wood furring strips, 2″-diameter PVC pipes (and connections), and a 2’x3′ sheet of cardboard. The PVC base can be glued together, or, for easier transport and storage, you can leave some or all of the connections free. “Cheese” tells us: “I didn’t glue any of it together so I could disassemble it, shove it in a bag and take it anywhere.”
“All the parts are just pushed together and not glued. That way I can break it down and carry it all in a bag. Also, if a buddy (not me!) happens to shoot the stand, I can easily replace just the damaged piece. The last 6 inches of the furring strips are wittled-down a bit so they can be pushed into the upright pipes with a little friction. The cardboard is 2 x 3 feet, and I use a staple gun to attach it to the furring strips. Then I just staple the target onto the cardboard and go at it.
Of course you can modify the dimensions as desired. I chose the black ABS pipe over white PVC simply for cost — black ABS is a little cheaper. You can also glue some or all of the parts together, it’ll just be larger for transporting. In windy conditions, the thing likes to come apart. Duct tape might work well.
For weight, I thought about filling the two end pipes with sand and gluing test caps on each of their ends. The test caps still allow the pipes to slip into the elbows.”
Add Anchors or Internal Weight for Stability
On a very windy day, a PVC stand can shake or even topple over. There are a couple solutions to this. Some people fill the PVC pipe sections with sand to add weight, or you can put short sections of Re-BAR inside the long legs. One GlockTalk forum member noted: “I built [a frame] almost identical to this. I also take four pieces of wire coathanger bent into an inverted “U” shape to anchor the frame to the ground. It is so light that wind will knock the stand over [without anchors].”
You can find photos of a similar home-made PVC target stand (with a slightly different rear section) on the Box of Truth website. This also employs a PVC tubing base with wood uprights. We’ve also seen all-PVC target stands, but we’ve found that it is easier to attach the cardboard to wood strips than to PVC pipe. Also, if the upper section is wood, you can fit different height targets, while using the same base.
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6.5 Creedmoor vs. Other Mid-Sized 6.5mm Cartridges
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very popular cartridge with the tactical and PRS crowd. This mid-size cartridge offers good ballistics, with less recoil than a .308 Winchester. There’s an excellent selection of 6.5mm bullets, and many good powder choices for this cartridge. When compared to the very accurate 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers similar performance with less expensive brass options. For a tactical shooter who must sometimes leave brass on the ground, brass cost is a factor to consider. Here’s a selection of various 6.5mm mid-sized cartridges. Left to right are: 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor with 120gr A-Max, 6.5 Creedmoor with 142gr Sierra MK, and .260 Remington.
When asked to compare the 6.5 Creedmoor to the 6.5×47 Lapua, Rifleshooter.com’s Editor stated: “If you don’t hand load, or are new to precision rifle shooting, get a 6.5 Creedmoor. If you shoot a lot, reload, have more disposable income, and like more esoteric cartridges, get a 6.5×47 Lapua. I am a big fan of the 6.5×47 Lapua. In my personal experience, the 6.5×47 Lapua seems to be slightly more accurate than the 6.5 Creedmoor. I attribute this to the quality of Lapua brass.” But now that Lapua is producing top-quality 6.5 Creedmoor brass with small primer pockets, we could have a “second generation” 6.5 Creedmoor that rivals ANY mid-sized cartridge for efficiency AND accuracy. We will soon know how well the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge performs with Lapua brass.
The first shipment of Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass has arrived in the USA. It features a small flash hole and small primer pocket. We have some for testing…
New Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Brass Field Tests Soon
Our friends at 65Guys.com will be testing the new Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor brass next week. The goal will be to determine if Lapua’s new Small Primer Pocket/Small Flash Hole brass allows higher velocities than American-made brass (Hornady specifically). In addition the 6.5 Guys want to see how well the new Lapua brass holds up after dozen (or more) firing cycles. They’ll hammer the new brass pretty hard to see how it fares with repeated stout loads. Stay tuned…
Here are three tables from the Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual (5th Edition). IMPORTANT — This is just a sample!! Sierra has load data for many other 6.5mm bullet types, including FB, Spitzer, SBT, HPBT, and Tipped MK from 85 grains to 142 grains. To view ALL 6.5 Creedmoor DATA, CLICK HERE.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.
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Newly-Appointed IBS Executive VP Josh Shrum was IBS 2016 Score Shooting Rookie of the Year.
The International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) organization has appointed Mr. Josh Shrum of Whitney, PA to be its Executive Vice-President (EVP), effective March 1, 2017. Josh will work with the IBS Executive Board to promote the IBS, expand IBS membership, boost match attendance, and grow Benchrest shooting in general.
“With Josh on-board, we will take IBS to new levels to achieve visibility, results and growth that a group of volunteers simply cannot achieve.” said IBS President Jeff Stover. While Josh’s EVP position is part-time, Josh will bring a full-time amount of energy and a passion for Benchrest shooting in all its disciplines. Working under the direction of the President and IBS Board, Josh will complement the existing IBS staff of webmaster Dick Grosbier and recording secretary Joan Borden.
Josh will greatly expand IBS’s association with the AccurateShooter.com website. In recent years, the IBS partnered with this popular precision rifle shooting site which draws over 500,000 unique visitors per month, a very large audience focused on rifle accuracy. “By far, Accurateshooter.com is the world’s largest stage for accuracy shooters. The IBS needs to take full advantage of this opportunity to grow Benchrest.” added Stover.
You can expect to see Josh shooting in all the disciplines: Score, Group, 600 and 1000. In 2016, he was IBS Score Shooting Rookie of the Year and solidified his benchrest shooting bona fides by snagging a 25X 100-yard aggregate in his first full year of shooting.
Josh, just 31 years old, brings a youthful perspective to the IBS. For his “day job”, he manages a 1,600-acre estate owned by the Benedictine monks of St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. He holds a degree in History and English from St. Vincent College. “I am excited and looking forward to working to promote the IBS. I already have a list of ideas to present to the Board” Josh said after hearing of his selection.
International Benchrest Shooters (IBS) was formed in 1970 to foster uniform competition to achieve the ultimate accuracy in firearms, ammunition, components, equipment and shooting methods. Benchrest disciplines contested include group and score at 100, 200 and 300 yards. The Long Range program is especially active with competitions at both 600 and 1000 yards. IBS Registered matches are held from Maine to Missouri and from Montana to Georgia.
In the near future, there could be changes in the way the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) treats sound suppressors (aka “moderators” or “silencers”). An official government White Paper, dated 1/20/17, was recently leaked to the press and revealed by the Washington Post.
The ATF White Paper makes some key points about suppressors:
1. 42 States currently allow silencers.
2. Silencers are not a threat to public safety, and are rarely used in criminal activities.
3. The inclusion of suppressors in the NFA is “archaic” and should be reevaluated.
4. The definition of regulated suppressor components should be narrowed, so that only key items are regulated as opposed to “any combination of [silencer] parts”.
5. A change in Federal law removing silencers from regulation under the NFA would save resources, allowing the ATF to focus on reducing actual gun-related crime.
Here is the operative text of the ATF White Paper:
Current Federal law requires ATF to regulate silencers under the NFA. This requires a Federal tax payment of $200 for transfers, ATF approval, and entry of the silencer into a national NFA database. In the past several years, opinions about silencers have changed across the United States. Their use to reduce noise at shooting ranges and applications within the sporting and hunting industry are now well recognized.
At present, 42 states generally allow silencers to be used for sporting purposes. The wide acceptance of silencers and corresponding changes in state laws have created substantial demand across the country. This surge in demand has caused ATF to have a significant backlog on silencer applications. ATF’s processing time is now approximately 8 months. ATF has devoted substantial resources in attempts to reduce processing times, spending over $1 million annually in overtime and temporary duty expenses, and dedicating over 33 additional full-time and contract positions since 2011 to support NFA processing. Despite these efforts, NFA processing times are widely viewed by applicants and the industry as far too long, resulting in numerous complaints to Congress. Since silencers account for the vast majority of NFA applications, the most direct way to reduce processing times is to reduce the number of silencer applications. In light of the expanding demand and acceptance of silencers, however, that volume is unlikely to diminish unless they are removed from the NFA. While DOJ and ATF have historically not supported removal of items from the NFA, the change in public acceptance of silencers arguably indicates that the reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated.
ATF’s experience with the criminal use of silencers also supports reassessing their inclusion in the NFA. On average in the past 10 years, ATF has only recommended 44 defendants a year for prosecution on silencer-related violations; of those, only approximately 6 of the defendants had prior felony convictions. Moreover, consistent with this low number of prosecution referrals, silencers are very rarely used in criminal shootings. Given the lack of criminality associated with silencers, it is reasonable to conclude that they should not be viewed as a threat to public safety necessitating NFA classification, and should be considered for reclassification under the [Gun Control Act] (GCA].
If such a change were to be considered, a revision in the definition of a silencer would be important. The current definition of a silencer extends to “any combination of [silencer] parts”, as well as “any part intended only for use in” a silencer. Compared to the definition of a firearm, which specifies the frame or receiver is the key regulated part, any individual silencer part is generally regulated just as if it were a completed silencer. Revising the definition could eliminate many of the current issues encountered by silencer manufacturers and their parts suppliers. Specifically, clarifying when a part or combination of parts meets a minimum threshold requiring serialization would be useful.
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This is something we really like to see — big-time support for youth marksmanship programs. It’s vital that we get young people involved because they are the future of recreational and competitive shooting. We want to see future generations of Americans enjoy the fun and challenge of shooting just as we do, and as previous generations did.
Over $2 Million Paid to 700+ Teams
The MidwayUSA Foundation recently paid over $2 million to youth shooting teams across the country, wrapping up the December grant cycle. This team grant payout is the largest to date for the MidwayUSA Foundation and 719 youth shooting teams will benefit from these team grant funds.
“We couldn’t be more excited to get these grant dollars from the MidwayUSA Foundation and into the hands of team leaders around the country to benefit their shooting teams. These team grant funds will help them purchase ammunition, pay for entry fees, targets, travel and more. It is our hope that teams will continue to grow their endowment and every grant payout exceeds the previous payout. The more funds teams add to their team endowment, the more they can receive in grant funding,” said MidwayUSA Foundation Executive Director, Randy Moeller.
The Queen Creek 4H Trap Team received a MidwayUSA Foundation Grant
Grants are provided through the Team Endowment Account Program, offered by the MidwayUSA Foundation. Teams with a balance in their Team Endowment Account are eligible to apply for a grant once per year by completing the MidwayUSA Foundation grant application. Grant deadlines are June 15 and December 15 and teams can receive 5% of their account balance to use for shooting team expenses.
The MidwayUSA Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) charity, founded by Larry and Brenda Potterfield, working to sustain the shooting sports industry by providing permanent, long term endowment funding to over 3,000 youth shooting teams. For more information about the MidwayUSA Foundation, Inc. and its Team Endowment Account Program, please visit midwayusafoundation.org or call 1-877-375-4570.
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Do you own a Springfield M1A (or wish you did)? Then you should watch this 5-minute video from the American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI). This video shows the basics of the operation of the popular M1A rifle, the civilian version of the military M14. In this video, gunsmith John Bush field-strips the M1A and shows how the bolt, op rod, and trigger group fits together and operates. This video contains excerpts from the M1A Rifle Armorer’s Course, AGI Course #1584. The full Armorer’s Course is available on DVD from www.AmericanGunsmith.com.
Watch Highlights of AGI M1A Rifle Armorer’s Course:
Registration Opens for 2017 CMP Springfield M1A Match
The 11th annual Springfield Armory M1A Match will take place during the 2017 National Trophy Rifle Matches. The CMP will host the event on Saturday, July 22, following the John C. Garand Match. Competitors of all experience levels are encouraged to bring their M1A rifles to Camp Perry and compete. Registration for the match will open April 1, 2017, and is open to all individuals ages 12 and above, with an entry fee of $50 (junior $25).
The Springfield Armory M1A match began with one man’s idea and passion. Springfield Armory’s Mike Doy witnessed the waning of classic M1 Garand and M1A rifles from the competitive High Power firing lines. “I really wanted to get those M1A rifles out of safes and closets and back out onto the field. So 11 years ago, I promoted the idea of running an M1A-specific match at Camp Perry. That first year we had over 600 competitors and spectators.” Now the match offers some of the biggest pay-outs at Camp Perry. In recent years, Springfield Armory has donated over $25,000 worth of cash and prizes, including a $2,000 cash award to the overall winner.
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If you’re planning a spring Prairie Dog adventure, it’s time to load up a big supply of ammo. On a 4-day varmint safari you can easily shoot 800 rounds or more in a prime P-Dog location. To save on ammo costs for high-volume shooting, it makes sense to buy components in bulk. Here’s a super deal on bullets for your .224-caliber varmint rig.
Right now Midsouth Shooters’ Supply is running a special on Varmint Nightmare XTreme Bullets. Available in both hollow point (HP) and lead-tip soft point (SP) styles, you can get these bullets for under $50.00 for 500. The .224 55gr Flat Base Soft Point variety is on sale this week for just $42.92 for 500 bullets (that works out to just $8.58 per hundred). We’ve loaded these in .223 Rem, 22 Dasher, and 22-250 cartridges and they worked well (considering the really low price).
Powder Suggestion for High-Volume Varmint Loads
For high-shot-count varmint safaris, you want a clean-burning powder that minimizes barrel fouling. While there are many great powders for the .223 Rem, we like Hodgdon CFE 223 for our high-volume varmint loads. This powder really seems to keep barrels cleaner. Originally developed for U.S. rapid-fire military systems, CFE 223 incorporates a proprietary chemistry named “Copper Fouling Eraser”. Based on tests with extended shot strings, Hodgdon claims that, by using CFE™223, match shooters, varmint hunters, and AR shooters can maintain accuracy for longer periods, with less barrel-cleaning time. You may want to check it out.
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The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) for tactical bolt guns has become hugely popular. Capitalizing on that success, the PRS has approved a new Gas Gun series for semi-auto rifles such as AR15s and AR10s. Since the launch of the PRS a few seasons back, Gas Gun shooters have wanted to play. Recognizing the interest among semi-auto shooters, the PRS ran two “prototype” Gas Gun matches last year.
PRS Director Shawn Wiseman Explains New Gas Gun Series in this Video:
Based on positive feedback from the 2016 test matches, PRS founders approved a full 2017 Gas Gun series which kicks off this week. The 2017 PRS Gas Gun Series opener will be held February 17-19, 2017 at the CORE Shooting Solutions range in Baker, Florida. Here’s a video showing CORE’s facility:
For the new PRS Gas Gun Series, rules and scoring procedures needed to be developed. Accordingly, a committee of top PRS shooters, Multi-Gun shooters, and Match Directors was assembled to develop the PRS Gas Gun Series Rule Book. Highlights of the Rules are listed below.
SSUSA: What will be the format of the 2017 PRS Gas Gun Series matches?
Wiseman: The matches will be a two day format with 8 to 10 stages per day. No more than 50 percent of the stages can be unlimited round count and 25 percent of the targets must be 2 MOA or smaller. The scoring will be overall time plus penalties with the winner being the shooter with the fastest time including all penalties. There are three Divisions; Tactical Light for 5.56x45mm NATO/.223 Rem. rifles, Tactical Heavy for 7.62x51mm NATO/.308 Win., and Open for everything else up to .30 cal. The maximum distance will be 800 yards.
SSUSA: What guns do you expect to be popular?
Wiseman: In the Open Division, I expect to see a lot of 6.5 Creedmoors for two main reasons; it’s an inherently accurate cartridge and Hornady makes great ammo for the folks that aren’t into reloading. I think the Tactical Light Division will probably be the most popular. It is hard to say specifically what rifles will be the most popular but there are a few AR companies that are known for the accuracy. Armalite, GA Precision, LaRue and Seekins will all be very popular rifles in this Series. I think we will continue to see high-end optics with 5 to 6X zoom range on the rifles. Bushnell, Kahles, Leupold, Nightforce and Vortex will continue to be the most popular.
Scoring and Penalties
The Gas Gun Series utilizes a time plus penalty-based scoring system for all match scoring. This means the score is the shooter’s total combined time on all stages plus any penalties accrued.
Penalties are as follows:
30 seconds for any rifle targets not engaged or neutralized.
15 seconds for any pistol targets not engaged or neutralized.
15 seconds for hitting a “No Shoot” target.
No more than 50% of the stages at a match can utilize an unlimited round count. At least 25% of the targets in Gas Gun Series match must be 2 MOA or smaller. Maximum distance is 800 yards.
Open Division: The Open Division rifles will not exceed a caliber of .30 or a velocity of 3,200 fps. A match DQ will result any rounds over the speed limit of 3,200 fps (+/- 32 fps for environmental factors and equipment discrepancies). Match Officials may request at any point during a match that a competitor fire their rifle through chronograph. If the bullet exceeds the 3,200 fps speed limit, the shooter will receive an automatic match DQ.
Tactical Light Division: Intended to allow competitors the opportunity tocompete using traditional military and law enforcement caliber. This promotes Active Duty military and law enforcement competitors use of their Service and Department-issued rifles. Tactical Light Division rifles are restricted to 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington calibers only. Bullet weight cannot exceed 77 grains and muzzle velocity cannot exceed 3,000 fps.
Tactical Heavy Division: Intended to allow competitors the opportunity to compete using traditional military and law enforcement caliber. This promotes Active Duty military and law enforcement competitors use of their Service and Department issued rifles. Tactical Heavy Division rifles are restricted to 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester calibers only. Bullet weight cannot exceed 178 grains and muzzle velocity cannot exceed 2,800 fps. No modified wildcat rounds permitted to shoot in the Tactical Divisions Anyone discovered violating this rule will receive an automatic Match DQ. Tactical Division shooters will shoot the exact same COF as Open Division shooters.
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Each week, Brownells releases a new product video. This week’s review spotlights Hornady match bullets and factory ammo of interest to PRS and tactical shooters. Hornady’s ELD Match ammunition is now offered in the popular 6.5 Creedmoor and 6mm Creedmoor chamberings, along with .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, 260 Rem, .308 Win, .30-06, .300 Win Mag, and .338 Lapua Mag. This ammo is loaded with Hornady’s ELD Match bullets which feature heat-resistant tips. The ELD bullet line offers impressive BCs at prices that are quite a bit more affordable than some other match bullets. For example, a 100-ct box of 130gr 6.5mm ELD Match bullets is $32.46 at Midsouth.
The 6.5 Creedmoor and 6mm Creedmoor chamberings are very popular with PRS competitors. These cartridge types offer excellent accuracy, and a good ballistics with moderate recoil. Many factory rifles, such as the impressive new Tikka T3X A1, are offered in the 6.5mm chambering.
This video also features Hornady’s new Black Ammunition designed for gas guns. Offerings include 5.45x39mm, 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, 300 AAC BLK, 450 Bushmaster, and .308 Win. The 6.5 Grendel ammo attracted our attention. That chambering is inherently accurate and could be used successfully in an XTC match rifle or in the new PRS Gas Gun Series.
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This an older video from the YouTube archives but we expect many readers have still not seen it yet. It definitely teaches an important lesson — never underestimate the destructive power of rifle-launched projectiles. What appears a “safe distance” from steel may actually be well within the danger zone.
In this video a rather ignorant (yet lucky) fellow demonstrates what NOT to do with a large-caliber rifle (a 50 BMG apparently). He shoots at a steel target about 70 yards away and a bullet fragment comes back directly at him. He was lucky enough that the ricochet just smacked his left ear muff. Another inch to the right and he could have lost his eye… or worse.
If you have ever done much action pistol shooting at close range on steel targets, you’ll know about the hazards of ricochets and bullet splashback. That’s why you should only shoot low-velocity rounds with soft lead or frangible bullets when shooting at relatively close range.
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